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Laurels: Keep schedule consistent for Rowan-Salisbury students

Laurel to the suggestion that Rowan-Salisbury Schools should “stay the course,” as Superintendent Lynn Moody suggested during Monday’s school board meeting, instead of opting to move elementary school students to entirely in-person classes.

While other districts, including Kannapolis City Schools, have chosen to take the governor up on the opportunity to move elementary school students back to the classroom full time, Rowan-Salisbury is on track to wait until next calendar year to make any sort of decision. That’s OK.

Particularly as cases are spiking in Rowan County as the weather turns colder, it’s harder to make the call to bring students back full time. Moody’s comments during Monday’s meeting show health is a concern that weighs heavy in educators’ recommendations about how to proceed. Schools reflect their community in so many ways, and a spike in cases naturally means more cases among people who work in or attend with public school. Full-time attendance in person could end up requiring entire classes to quarantine. Moody also raised the possibilities of entire grade levels or schools shutting down, which would be among the worst-case scenarios.

But there are also many positives for students to entirely in-person classes. Schools are fundamental to a child’s or teenager’s mental and social development. Digital-only learning does not work for a swath of its students who don’t have the right resources at home. It can be tough, too, even for those with fast-enough internet access and a support system at home. The school year to this point also has shown schools not to be the super-spreader facilities that so many feared.

So it’s best to keep things consistent for students and not upend another thing in their lives. The school system has found what appears to be a good middle ground for attendance. Barring an earlier than expected deployment of vaccines, it may be best to stick with a hybrid schedule through the end of the school year.

Laurel to the decision by Rowan County commissioners to allocate $350,000 in coronavirus relief money to small business grants.

The public has been left waiting and hoping for another relief package to be passed by Congress and signed into law, but an unwillingness to compromise has kept that dream out of reach. Meanwhile, some businesses are continuing to struggle and others have shuttered permanently.

Businesses in need of help to catch up on bills should pay attention to the fact that there’s just a short window — Dec. 1 to Dec. 6 to apply for funding. Applications will be available on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building and online at rowancountync.gov starting at noon Monday.

The Rowan Chamber of Commerce will supervise distribution of the funds, but it’s also important for businesses to know membership is not a prerequisite.

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